Increase in temptations as the result of discerning a vocation to the Priesthood

Hello everybody, first time starting a new thread here (Hooray! Moving away from merely observing)! I’m currently 20 and have been seriously discerning a vocation to the Priesthood for about 6 months now, and I have found increasingly that the temptations I face are more and more powerful and enticing than they ever have been. These temptations are usually involving sexual sins (alas, they have been my greatest cross for a long time now), mostly masturbation and pornography. That battle though has been, thanks to God’s grace and mercy, going better than ever before. The temptation in particular which really worries me at this point in time though is involving a very close and dear friend of mine who is a woman. I love her very much, like a sister and a best friend, but more and more I have been having other, more romantic feelings mixed in as well. We trust each other with anything and everything, and so I am going to discuss this with her (she is a lapsed Catholic, but she is not so far from the Church as to be beyond a reasonable hope); I do not want a relationship at this time, and nor do I want to do anything sinful and foolish, and corrupt my love for her with lustful desire and action. So, i’m curious as to what advice you can offer - either as someone who has been in a similar situation, or simply someone who can give me some wisdom - whether about this particular temptation, or about the increase of temptation in general due to discernment. Thank you, and God Bless!


HA !


So again now the other responses are left to actually comment on the OPs original hope for a response, other than what I have stated.

One of my favorite lines from C.S Lewis when talking about temptation is how an irreligious person lives a sheltered life in this respect. You never realize how powerful the wind is until you stand up and start walking against it. If you’re coming to a decision to live a celibate life, it’s not surprising that the issue of sex is going to boil up to the top. When I stopped living in denial over the sinfulness of masturbation and made a committed effort to stop… wow. It’s as though my sex drive tripled.

The hardest part is always in the beginning. The more you obey God, the stronger you become (and vice versa). Congratulations on your consideration of the priesthood. Priests make the best friends because I never have to worry about them getting a phone call from the wife! :eek:


I was in seminary for a year, St. Meinrad. It was a wonderful experience. They will have counselors and spiritual directors at seminary that can help you in that area, not to mention the friends you will make there. We’re all tempted in one way or another so don’t feel bad for it, just give it your best, and if you fall down get right back up.

Theology of the Body by Blessed John Paul II can help you. It was very popular in seminary. I believe you can get on CD as well as book.


You need to discuss all this with your confessor, make an appointment if necessary, or perhaps the vocation director of the diocease.

Personal problems of a sexual nature should always be discussed with a priest and even the " relations " issue you brought up.


Thanks for the responses so far everybody! They are very much appreciated, and also encouraging.
Guess I should have mentioned that I have already been discussing this with my Spiritual Director, Vocations Director, and some other priests as well :slight_smile:

Perhaps this clearly means that God is telling you that you are not meant to be a priest?

That is always a possibility, certainly (though I wouldn’t use the word ‘clearly’ to describe it:p). But as of right now, I feel this to be more of a test and trial than anything else. I’m not far enough into my discernment yet to be sure of God’s will, either way.

I do not think it can “clearly” be the case. If it were then how would you understand the temptation of Christ in the desert?

I have just been accepted to start formation, and I too have had my battles with sin and continue to fight temptation. The last thing that Satan wants is for anyone to join the ranks of the Lords army, especially in joining the holy priesthood.

You have already said that you have spoken to others such as spiritual director which is great, God does not ask us to fight our battles alone. Prayer and perseverance is the key.

As for your lady friend, maybe some space between you would be a good idea. Be aware though that you may need to make a choice in whether to tell her how you feel or not, but only you can know whether that would be helpful.

Please pray for me, and be assured that you have my prayers.

It wouldn’t matter, I already called first on the vocation and spiritual director answer and already one person had to repeat that which I found hilarious , it is a common answer here, even if you did start off with the fact you have a VD / SD an know other priests, then the next answer would have been go an talk to them about the matter or continue talking to them as you have the best place for information possible on your issue.

it is a true answer, it just gets old seeing 3-10 times in one thread and then not one person addresses the original question, but it is good to see others are giving some really good suggestions.

I would think a clear answer would be a man who is considering the priesthood ends up married instead to be a clear answer.

temptations will always be present in our lives, I doubt men who are currently priests ever stop being tempted with the opportunity to view pornography, or numerous other temptations, BUT I do believe they are better suited if not better trained on how to over come the temptations put in front of them, these men become another Christ, they are not just average guys trying to do the best they can in life, but are given something beyond amazing, so I would like to think that even among the temptations they face that Christ is with them more than any one else, and if they do trip an fall into temptation or even give in to temptation, there is still the sacrament of reconciliation, they can still reconcile with Christ and God and be whole once again.

So what do priests really have to fear ?

And something has to be said for any young man or man who embarks on such a journey; because win , lose or draw , Christ has done something specifically to them that will in turn either way make the world a better place.

If you are discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, you must make a conscious choice to be celibate. Consider your relationships with those of the opposite sex as if you were seeing someone who was not them. Be compassionate and kind, but guard your heart and, as need be, keep your distance. I should point out that you will not be admitted to a seminary or religious community unless you have first lived a chaste, celibate life for a period of time (two years seems to be the standard).

Thank you my friend :slight_smile: Praying for you!

Thanks for this advice. I never really took into consideration ‘guarding my heart,’ but since you mention it, I can certainly see how a heart that is too open in some ways can be a danger.

Above all else guard your heart, for it affects everything you do. Proverbs 4:23

I don’t think there’s necessarily an increase in temptations, I think its more perhaps an increase in awareness of temptations. For some reason many who are considering a priestly vocation think that attractions to others and desire for intimacy are going to disappear. They most certainly will not. A person contemplating a priestly vocation needs to be conscious of their attractions, desires, and weaknesses. These things will always remain as long as we are human and affected by original sin.

There’s also another underlying cause for a so-called “increase” in temptations, its called cold feet. Our culture values freedom and choice above all else, we’re culturally ingrained to rebel against locking ourselves in or locking out other choices. Shortly before weddings men and women experience similar emotions/feelings.

Coming to awareness of these things and dealing with them in a healthy manner requires a good confessor, a good spiritual director, and good friends…


Remember, you’re only 20, so you will have some years before you can become a priest. You will have a number of years as a seminarian before you will become a priest so you don’t have to figure out everything right now. Many people become a seminarian and only then do they realize they’re called to marriage, so just let the Lord move you and don’t try to figure it all out. Like St. Augustine says (paraphrased) “Finding the Lord is the greatest adventure in life.”

But to your other concerns, you might be more tempted while discerning. As was said before, the Devil doesn’t want you to become a priest. He doesn’t want you happily married either. He wants you to live in sin and he has two methods to get a person to do that. The first is to make the sin look attractive. And when that doesn’t work, to make us feel unworthy of the Lord and believe the sin is inescapable. But as also been said, you may also just have become more aware of the temptations…especially since you’re trying to fight against them.

To your female friends. There’s nothing wrong with having friends with women but if you are seriously discerning the priesthood, it may not be a good idea to date them right now. Be honest with them though and talk to your spiritual director about this one.

As for the impurity issues… no matter what you do in life, priest, religious brother, deacon, husband… anything, you need to get that in order. Luckily as Catholics we have saintly help. I suggest two things. The first is get yourself a Cincture of St. Joseph. Make your own so you don’t have to wait for one and have it blessed. Then wear it around your waist and say his 7 Sorrows & Joys every day. The prayers take like five minutes and the cincture not only will help you spiritually but practically to resist sinning. I assume the pornography is on your computer… Make your desktop an image of Our Lady, or put a prayer card right on your monitor (if its a desktop). You’re going to be less likely to go to a pornographic sight under your Heavenly Mother’s watchful eye. Also, you can always download a program to put protections on your computer. Put some parental guards on your computer and when the pop up happens, say a Hail Mary and the prayer to St Michael… or any prayer that moves you. You won’t put the password in to get through the popup.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit